By Alison Murry, Isha Foundation
Raising children can be extremely challenging, but it also can be the most highly rewarding and fulfilling experiences in your life. If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve experienced both the frustration of trying to figure out the “right” way to raise your children and the joy that comes from watching them grow.
The way we raise our children sets the foundation for the rest of their lives. It helps mold and shape them and unleashes their potential for later on in life. Like every child, every parent is different and has a different parenting style. While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules for raising children, there are qualities in parents that many studies have found essential to nurture happy, healthy children who grow up with the capability to take on the challenges of their lives with self-assurance and ease.
According to Dr. Lawrence Steinberg, the author of The Ten Basic Rules of Parenting, good parenting involves cultivating the qualities of honesty, kindness, self-reliance, co-operation, and cheerfulness. Good parenting also involves promoting motivation, intellectual curiosity, and a desire to achieve. It also empowers children to avoid adopting harmful habits, such as drug and alcohol abuse, and helps them grow up to be emotionally balanced adults.
Many parents believe that strict parenting will foster good qualities in their children, make them resilient, and keep them from engaging in harmful behavior. But some experts disagree with this point of view. According to Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, years of research on parenting styles has consistently shown that strict parenting actually raises kids with lower self-esteem and worse behavior.
So, what is the best way to parent your children? This question is often asked to yogi and visionary, Sadhguru, during his public talks and programs. Below, is an excerpt where Sadhguru shares his insights on parenting well:
“If you want to grow your garden, you don’t sit there every day and try to extract flowers or fruits out of it. You just maintain the atmosphere and it grows well, isn’t it? That is all you can do, and that is all that should be done.
If parents are truly concerned about their children, they must raise their children in such a way that the child will never have any need for the parent. The process of loving should always be a liberating process, not an entangling process. When the child is born, allow the child to look around, spend time with nature and spend time with himself. Create an atmosphere of love and support and don’t try to impose your morals, ideas, beliefs, or whatever in any way. Just helping him to look at life as a human being is very essential for his wellbeing and the wellbeing of the world.
The way we raise our children sets the foundation for the rest of their lives.
At the same time, the perils of living in this world are always there. It could be drugs, it could be an accident, it could be various perversions – all these things are there. But what you need to understand is whether you like it or not, today or tomorrow, your child has to learn to live with his own intelligence, making his own choices as to how much of what he has to do in his life. The sooner he gets equipped for this, the better. This does not mean you push a young child on the street to learn his own ways. You don’t try to counter-influence him with your own morality and values. You just help him to look at his life with more intelligence, rather than being influenced by this or that.
If the child feels most comfortable at home, he will naturally try to spend more time there than outside. Right now, a street corner may feel like a more comfortable place for him than being at home because of the impositions in the home ground. If that discomfort is not there, he will not make the street corner his sanctuary. But that does not mean he is not going to be exposed to the hard realities of the world. He will always be, and they will influence him in some way or the other. But always, the parent encouraging the child to learn to think for himself, to use his own intelligence to see what is best for him is the best insurance you have so that the child grows up well.”
Sadhguru is a world-renowned yogi and the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit public service organization offering the benefits of classical yoga to over 7 million people over the last 35 years. The Isha Institute of Inner-sciences is a world class destination for classical yoga and meditation situated 2hrs from Knoxville in Tennessee’s spectacular Upper Cumberland. The Isha Institute features two distinctive meditation halls offering over 50,000 square feet of tranquil, vibrant space dedicated especially for yoga and meditation. Isha Institute hosts Free Yoga Day each month, offering a day long family-friendly series of free yoga sessions to bring wellbeing to the local community. Isha offers a full range of programs from beginner to advanced, including week long residential yoga camps just for kids. For more information, visit www.IshaUSA.org.
As Outreach Coordinator for Isha Foundation, USA, Alison Murry draws on over 25 years of experience in training, education and communications in health science, wellness, and holistic living. Alison has been a daily practitioner of classical yoga and meditation since it cured her of severe spinal pain in 1998.